Hogan's Heroes

Wilhelm Klink

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Colonel Wilhelm Klink
Colonel Klink
Rank Oberst
Enlisted In Wehrmact, Luftwaffe
Serial Number Unknown
Appearances Full List of Appearances
Actor Werner Klemperer

Oberst Wilhelm Klink is one of the main fictional characters who appeared in the 1960s American television sitcom, Hogan's Heroes. He was played by Emmy Award-winning actor, Werner Klemperer.  

History Edit

Colonel Wilhelm Klink was born in Leipzig, Germany, on May 9, 1894 (speculation). According to the sixth season episode The Gypsy, he was a Taurus. He claimed descent from a 500-year-old Junkers family, of the Heidelberg aristocracy, with both his grandfather and father (and all of his male ancestors) being military men. One room has a pompus coat of arms with the letter "K" on it. His only known sibling is a brother named Wolfgang. His father appears to be deceased, but his mother is still alive, as is his 90-year-old grandfather. He occasionally writes to her and even took her on a canoeing trip before the war.

In 1901, Klink's family moved to Düsseldorf, where he worked at his father's store and attended the local gymnasium along with a boy named Mullendorf, who in his adulthood rose to the rank of General, invited Klink to be best man at his wedding, and became involved in a plot to kill the Führer (The Big Picture.) He had a brief romance with a young blond woman named Marlene Schneider, which he would later recall as the only serious love of his life. After failing the qualifying exams to study law, medicine and bookkeeping, he accepted an appointment from Kaiser Wilhelm II to the military academy at Potsdam, which was attained for him by his uncle, who was the barber for the mayor of Düsseldorf. Among his classmates at Potsdam were Rudolf von Lintzer, Hans Stofle and Hans Kronman.  One of his instructors, Colonel Schlesweig (later executed by Hitler, at an indeterminate time and for reasons never explained), coined a saying about authority that Klink would carry with him for the rest of his life: "Authority is a dangerous thing, in the hands of fools" (Man in a Box) . Klink graduated from Potsdam 95th (last!) in his class, and left there with a dueling scar somewhere on his body, which had been given to him by Stofle. He is the only member of his class not to have made General-although in the D-Day episode (D-Day at Stalag 13), Hogan tricks the German High Command into thinking Klink is the General to deal with the Normandy Invasion; faced with the choice of either fighting on the beaches or holding the reserves back, Klink gives only one order-for more champagne!

Start of his Military Career Edit

Klink served in the First World War, first in the Army, and later in the newly formed Luftwaffe despite a lifelong fear of flying. He reached the rank of Oberleutnant by 1919, and Hauptmann der Flieger in 1920. During his war service, he wins the Pour le Mérite and Iron Cross, although the how and why is never mentioned in the series. The only reference made to his service in the Great War is that he crashed a plane during a training flight, injuring his passenger, Petterdale von Richter, the famed Blue Baron, on August 4, 1917. After the war, he stays in the size-restricted, post-war Reichswehr of Weimar Germany.

Post-Great War/Pre-World War II Edit

He became a Hauptman in 1920, Major in on December 25, 1924, and finaly Oberstleutnant in 1929, a rank he would still hold when made Kommandant of Stalag 13, until he was promoted to full Oberst in 1942, after the pilot episode, which I discovered. This was due in part to him having an efficiency rating just a few points above miserable. Both before and after the Nazis come to power in Germany, Klink serves in the Army as a bumbling self-serving, self-centered bureaucrat who always hopes to become a General, like the rest of his military class. When the Luftwaffe is reformed, he rejoins it. Klink would be continuously chosen by the Luftwaffe to do its broadcasts because of his resonance, projection and "incredible" diction. He claimed to have had the "honor" of meeting the Führer at a rally in Munich just before the start of World War II, but when the hostilities actually commence, he is in Berlin, more speceific, he was at his apartment at Grechterwüschnachem. 

World War II Edit

Klink was a member of the 401st Bomber Group and piloted a Heinkel He-111E bomber. He was nicknamed "the Iron Eagle" by his squadron mates, this would have been in 1940 and most of 1941. He was involved in both air and ground combat, the nature of which is never revealed in the series, but by his own admission was not serious enough to put his own life in danger. Apparently it was meritorious enough for him to earn him a ground combat badge and an eagle (spange) on his Iron Cross. He was involved in the Second Battle of Verdun, and it was there that he was briefly reunited with the Blue Baron, Generaloberst Petterdale von Richter (a spinoff of the Red Baron). Not long after this, his eyesight apparently deteriorated in his left eye, which was most likley from engine trouble, which meant he could never fly a Heinkel again. After being grounded, he worked for a short time as a tower dispatcher at an airfield near Stuttgart and Hemmelstadt. Not long after that, he was reassigned to Stalag 13 as its Kommandant, on April 14, 1942. 

After being made Kommandant of the camp, he turned it into the "toughest camp in all of Germany", with not one successful escape attempt. However, Klink had no idea that there were actually a series of tunnels under the camp that were being used by Colonel Hogan, the camp's senior POW, and his men to run an anti-Nazi organization, which Stalag 13 actually was. This organization specialized in sabotage, spying and rescuing Allied airmen who are sent back to England. Klink was easily manipulated by Hogan and his men; several times the Heroes had to make sure that Klink was not transferred elsewhere, as that would eventually lead to the exposure of their operation.

Although he sometimes acts as if he is still afraid of flying, Klink claimed to dream of once again flying Heinkels, although it is possible this statement was simply false bravado, intended to impress either other officers or women. Klink both hated and feared the local Gestapo agent, Major (Sturmbannführer in SS terms) Wolfgang Hochstetter and he was something of an old friend of his commanding officer, Army General der Infantrie Albert "Hansi" Burkhalter. This was mainly because Klink desperately wanted to stay on the general's good side, but also because he had a major nightmare of actually having to marry the general's miserable sister, Gertrude Linkmeyer. In fact, on several occasions he threatened to have Hogan shot for even proposing such a fate, and assured him that no court-martial in the world would ever find him guilty for doing it. He would have much preferred a romance with either of his secretaries.

Klink fancied himself to be a ladies' man, a self-styled military genius, a musician and even an artist. His violin playing was the stuff of legend (and not the good kind). A running gag is that the only tune he can play is the US Army Air Force song Into the Wild Blue Yonder {In fact, Klemperer was the son of a famous conductor and was a talented musician}. He once tried to flatter Schultz so that he could become a postwar bookeeper at Schultz's toy company and tried to corner the coo-coo clock market-and, as usual, fails. In one episode, The Missing Klink, he is in danger of being shot, both by the underground-because he isn't of high enough rank to trade for a captured underground leader-and the Gestapo-because they think he is the super underground spy, "Nimrod"!

Two of Klink's favorite foods are pistachio ice cream and apple-crumb cake, made for him by Corporal LeBeau (How's the Weather?). He also loves his uniform and medals, and is often seen admiring himself in the mirror). 

Klink's vanity often made him an easy mark for Hogan, who continually massaged the Kommandant's massive ego to manipulate his decisions in ways which would benefit the prisoners and the Allies.


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